What to Do When You Do Not Have Hot Water

Not having hot water for your shower, washing machine or dishwasher can be a significant issue. At Restano Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing, we have put together a list of troubleshooting tips you can use to help you restore your hot water as soon as possible.

Check the Weather

The cold winters in Pittsburgh can affect the effectiveness of your electric- or gas-powered water heater and, in some cases causing it to stop working. This will commonly occur overnight while the water heater is not being used, and temperatures are at their lowest.  

If the weather has been dipping into freezing temperatures, but your boiler is still running, turn your water heater on to its max setting to get it operating again. Let it run on high for about a half-hour and then run the water in the kitchen or bathroom to see if the water warms up within a few minutes. If the water heats up, you can return the temperature to normal or consider leaving it a few degrees above normal to keep it running throughout the cold weather.

Turn up the Thermostat

Your water heater has an ideal operating temperature that falls between 122 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If your system is running under this temperature range, then you risk not only losing your hot water, but also the growth of Legionella bacteria. These bacteria are responsible for a severe type of pneumonia called Legionnaires’ disease. Adjust your water heater to the ideal range if it is set lower, and it should take about 30 to 40 minutes for your hot water to return. It will take about 2 hours for the water heater to reach a temperature that will prevent the growth of bacteria.

Check the Pilot Light

If your water heater is not working, a downdraft or breeze may have blown out the pilot light. Check to see if the pilot is out and relight it if needed by following the instructions that are posted on the side of your unit. If your pilot light sits in an enclosed chamber, so you may need to contact a plumber to resolve this. When you are checking your pilot light, make sure to pay attention to whether or not you smell gas. IF you do, get out of the house immediately and call the gas company.

Fix Your Thermocouple

IF you were able to light your pilot light, but the flame goes out after you release the control knob, this may mean your thermocouple is faulty. This is a safety device that shuts off the gas flow if the pilot light is out. If the copper tube is out of line with the flame of the pilot light, it may need to be adjusted or replaced. A thermocouple costs around $20 and is usually a DIY Repair.

Check Your Fuel Source

If your water heater is fueled by gas, check your gas valve to see whether it is open or closed and check the gas line for kinks that could be causing a blockage. After you’ve adjusted the gas flow, if you see no improvement, contact the gas company to make sure your account is up to date, and service is not shut in off in your area. If there are no issues on the gas company’s end, you may need to contact your local plumber to resolve the problems.  

If your water heater runs on electricity, you should try shutting off your unit for a few minutes and then switch it back on. Wait a half an hour, and if there is still no hot water, you may need to try other troubleshooting methods. Before you proceed, make sure the unit is off to avoid electrocution. If your circuit breaker tripped and threw your water heater off, try flipping the circuit breaker off for 20 seconds and then back on.

Still, Stumped About Your Water Heater Issues?

If these tips don’t help you restore your hot water, contact Restano Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing today. We are proud to serve our customers by offering the best hot water repair services in Pittsburgh. Don’t get left with cold water, search for “plumbers near me,” and be sure to choose Restano Heating, Cooling, and Plumbing for all of your HVAC and plumbing needs!

Chris D. a Restano Heating, Cooling & Plumbing customer left a google review about his emergency hot water experience, "Our water heater went out the night before Christmas Eve. By 9:00 am the next morning they were out replacing it. Great service, fantastic plumber that was quick and professional, and went to great lengths to keep the house clean. They are always reliable. Thanks, Restano’s!"


Restano Heating, Cooling & Plumbing offers 24/7 emergency plumbing repairs to Pittsburgh, PA residents, and businesses. If you have a plumbing problem anywhere in your home or office, at any time, day or night, we are here to help!

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